Advanced Theatre Management - Illinois State University

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Advanced Theatre Management - THE 345

Spring, 2012 — T-R 12:35-1:50 CW 308

Instructor: Pete Guither

Illinois State University


Intensive work in business management techniques for arts organizations, including management practices, contracts, payrolls, budgeting and income controls. Prerequisites: THE 103, 104 and 344 or consent of instructor.

Advanced Theatre Management provides tools for the motivated arts manager or entrepreneur to problem-solve in the constantly shifting management challenges of professional theatre and the fine arts world in general. The course focuses on independent thinking and group problem solving as methods of learning in a field where the challenges one faces daily may not be solved by textbook solutions.

The course involves the development of Elevator Pitches and Business Plans for arts-related for-profit enterprises, interspersed with challenging management case-study-style assignments in areas of particular importance for arts management students.

Relationship to Other Courses

Advanced Theatre Management is the second of two required management courses in the Theatre Management concentration. Principles of Theatre Management (THE 344) focuses on an overview of the entire field and an exploration of non-profit theatre, while Advanced Theatre Management focuses more on for-profit theatre and advanced business topics.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have achieved the following learning objectives and practical skills:

1. Researching and crafting an Elevator Pitch and Business Plan for an arts-related business enterprise

2. Critically solving problems in business management in the arts, particularly in situations where instructions and information may be ambiguous or incomplete

3. Interpreting and applying management documents such as rulebooks, organizational charts, and balance sheets

4. Creating systems of control, event statements, and cash flow budgets

5. Solving break-even point analysis

Required Reading

There is no textbook for this class. “Theatre Management” by David M. Conte and Stephen Langley (the textbook for THE 344) may be useful, but is not required. Various online reading assignments will be required throughout the semester, including case studies related to each assignment.

Homework Assignments and Grading:

Entrepreneurship in the Arts

Create an Elevator Pitch for a for-profit enterprise related to theatre or other fine arts fields and present it to the class for feedback and recommendations. Then work in small groups on selected projects to create a Business Plan that will be demonstrated for the class in a final presentation. (30% of your grade)

Case Study Assignments

1. The Rose Company — organizational structure, personnel management, and centralization (5%)

2. Rock Music Festival — systems of control and box office statements (10%)

3. A Shakespeare Festival — Actors Equity Association rule books (10%)

4. Various — calculating break-even points and profit margins (10%)

5. A Center for the Performing Arts — cash flow and balance sheets (15%)

Readings and assignments are available on the web site. Go to

Class participation and attendance (10% of your grade)

Final Exam (10% of your grade)

Extra requirement for Graduate Students

  • Read up on current trends in arts business management and check the business section of newspaper regularly. Bring in items to share with the rest of the class.

Extra credit for all students

· Attend Self-Employment in the Arts Conference on February 24 and 25. Scholarships for registration and housing may be available.

Class Policies and Expectations:

· Due to the problem-solving nature of many of the assignments, we’ll be discussing practical solutions in class on the date the assignment is due. Late assignments will be downgraded significantly.

· Group work on assignments is not only allowed, but also encouraged. Draw upon each other’s expertise to solve problems. Learn how to work together and bounce ideas off each other. Some class periods will be set aside for group work to encourage such collaboration, but this approach should be extended outside the classroom as well.


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